Can you relate to these words from Scripture, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19)? Learn from the Scriptures how to escape habitual sins and addictions by setting the mind on the Spirit (Rom 8:5–6, 13). Jesus revealed that sin enslaves those who commit sin, and the Truth will set all free (John 8:31–36). Jesus declared that God’s Word is Truth and the Spirit is Truth (John 17:17; 1 John 5:6). Jesus taught that the Spirit came to Christ’s Apostles to reveal all Truth (John 16:13). The Spirit of God speaks to all through the words of Scripture (2 Pet 1:20–21). Many Christians have come to this Truth and have overcome temptations, and yet for others, the Truth seems unfinished in them.
The Scriptures foretell the enslavement, guilt, and devastation when people sin. Yet, God helps overcome temptations, habitual sin, and addictions. God transforms Christians by their renewing of the mind (Rom 12:1–2). Christians overcome slavery to fleshly desires and passions by setting the mind upon the Spirit (Rom 8:5–6). Conquering sin is not about willpower, but a mindset. Having died and being raised with Christ, the Spirit can transform the believer struggling with addiction by the renewing of the mind (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 3:17–18).
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). What does walking in the Spirit mean? What are the lust of the flesh? Lust of the flesh consist of more than sexual immorality. Works of the flesh include jealousy, rage, divisiveness, drunkenness, wild partying, and more (Rom 13:13–14, Gal 5:19–21). Walking the Spirit is the way of escape. There is always a way to escape from temptation (1 Cor 10:13). Christ can set the sinner free. The Scriptures affirm, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb 2:18).
Take up your cross daily to follow the words of Christ by faith, and you will overcome your temptations (Luke 9:23). The love for Christ compels believers to die with Christ (2 Cor 5:14–15). Those who love Christ keep His commands — all of them (Matt 28:19, John 14:21–24, 1 John 5:3).
This all requires a faith and love that is obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ starting with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:17). The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Gospel that saves believers (1 Cor 15:1–4). For Christ to save, believers must obey this Gospel (2 Thess 1:7–9). Christ’s Spirit teaches through the Scriptures that each professing believer must die with Christ repenting of their sins, be buried with Christ by baptism in His name, and be raised with Christ into the newness of life (Rom 6:1–7, Col 2:11–13). This is when God raises the believer with Christ being saved by God’s grace (Eph 2:4–6). Only after this can someone put to death sin (Col 3:1–5). Having conformed to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, let us ask questions to apply the Scriptures about overcoming habitual sins and additions with Christ (i.e. Rom 6:21).
(1) See what separates you from God.
- Is your behavior separating you from God?
- How do you feel about allowing sin to live in you and rule over you?
- How does this behavior manipulate you?
- How do you feel after giving into the same temptations?
- Do you feel stress, guilt, shame, hopeless and, or selfish for giving into sinful desires?
- Will giving into temptations and desires help you stop sinning and grow closer to God in Christ?
- If you obey lusts, will those desires continue to dominate your mind and body (Rom 6:12, 8:5–6)?
- “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isa 59:2).
- “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (Col 1:21, cf. Eph 4:17–19).
- “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Rom 6:12).
- “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:1–4).
- “Therefore subordinate to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Jas 4:7–10, cf. Acts 17:26–27).
Other Scriptures: Mark 7:20–23, 8:36–37, Rom 1:28–32, 3:23, 6:23, 1 Cor 6:9–11, 2 Cor 5:14–15.
(2) See the devastating results of what enslaves you.
- “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?” (Rom 6:20–23) In other words, what comes from giving into sinful temptations?
- Do you see regret and ruin on the other side of this behavior?
- What do you regret? What will ruin you?
- How does this behavior hurt others?
- What is the result of entertaining sinful thoughts and contemplating temptations? Is it helpful or harmful?
- What will happen if you continue sinful behavior until you come before God in judgment?
- What are some things that are better about living without recurring guilt?
- Do you want God to help you live a holy life free from guilt and hopelessness?
- “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Jas 1:14–15).
- “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Heb 10:26, cf. 1 John 3:4–9).
- “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” (Rom 2:5, cf. 2:6–11).
- Jesus declared, “Fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna; yes, I say to you, fear this One” (Luke 12:5, cf. Matt 10:26–28, Rev 19:20, 20:10).
- Christ taught, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt 7:21).
- “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death” (Rom 6:21).
Other Scriptures: Luke 4:1-13, Rom 6:16-23, 7:13-25, Eph 4:17-24, 2 Tim 2:24-26, Jas 1:14-16, 1 John 2:16-17.
(3) See your way of escape.
- Are you willing to set your mind to overcome these temptations (Rom 8:5–6; 12:2; Gal 5:16)?
- Will you set your mind to see through temptations to see the guilt, ruin, and devastation on the other side?
- Are temptations common to everyone (1 Cor 10:12–13)? Should you accept that sin will tempt you?
- Is God faithful to allow sin to tempt you beyond what you are able (1 Cor 10:13)?
- Will giving into temptations help you to escape sin? What will more likely help you endure temptations and decrease your urges: giving into the same temptations or enduring urges to weaken them (1 Cor 10:13)?
- Will you have to bear the urges to sin for some time to overcome them (1 Cor 10:13)?
- Is enduring intense urges worth overcoming the indwelling of sin?
- If you obey sinful desires, will they denominate your body (Rom 6:12)?
- What other good and joyful things can replace temptations (Gal 5:16–24)?
- Will surrounding yourself with temptations help you escape them (Rom 13:13–14, 1 Cor 15:33)?
- What must you avoid to prevent giving into temptations? Will you have to end some friendships?
- “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).
- “And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof” (Gal 5:24).
- Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. […] Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin'” (John 8:31–34).
- “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).
- “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom 13:14).
- “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” (1 Cor 15:33).
- “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom 8:5–6, cf. 12:2).
Other Scriptures: Luke 9:23–24, Rom 6:1–15, Gal 2:20, 5:16–24, 1 John 3:4–9.
(4) See a better life with God.
- How will life be better when you stop giving into these temptations?
- How would you describe God’s blessings when you stop committing this sin?
- How much closer will you be to God?
- How will you be able to encourage and help others?
- How confident will you be that Christ’s blood washes away all of your sins by walking in the light (1 John 1:7)?
- “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,” (Titus 2:11–12).
- “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor 5:14–15).
- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:22–25).
- “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — think on these things” (Phil 4:8).
- “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.'” (Rom 8:14–15).
- “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:31–32).
- “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:37).
Other Scriptures: Matt. 11:28–30, Rom 8:1–39, Eph 1:3, Heb 2:16–18, 4:15–16, 2 Pet 2:9.
*Prayerfully study these Scriptures daily, set your mind on the Spirit, and thus walk by the Spirit. May God bless everyone reading this and struggling with an addictive sin to allow the Word of God to overcome this sin from within the heart. [**If you are going to detox your body from a substance go to an Emergency Room or a rehabilitation clinic. Detoxification can be very dangerous.**]